Email to a friend    Printer Friendly Page

Talk with a health educator - MaineHealth Learning Resource Center

Car Seat Safety Event at SMH

The Family Birthplace at Stephens Memorial Hospital (SMH)  urges parents and caregivers to make time on Saturday February 5th to find out if your child's car seat is installed correctly and your child is safely buckled up.  Stephens Memorial Hospital, in conjunction with Maine Families and the Norway Fire Department will be hosting a Free Car Seat Safety Event with certified technicians available to provide free hands-on child safety seat inspections and advice from 10 am - 2 pm at the Norway Fire Station on Beal St. in Norway.


Stephens Memorial Hospital was recently awarded designation as a Child Passenger Safety Seat distribution center as well as an inspection site. Inspection sites are part of a statewide child passenger safety project and local fitting stations can be found on the Buckle Up Maine Website at


"It's the responsibility of every single parent and caregiver out there to make sure their children are safely restrained - every trip, every time," said Carol Welsh, RN, Perinatal Outreach Coordinator for The Family Birthplace, "We are urging everyone to get their child safety seats inspected.  When it comes to the safety of a child, there is no room for mistakes."


Traffic accidents are the number one killer of children.  If you have children under the age of either, their car seat may be incorrectly installed or they need to be graduated to a booster seat.  Fortunately, car seats, when correctly installed and used, are extremely effective in saving children's lives.  Proper use of car seat reduces the risk of death by as much as 71% for infants.  However, car seats are complicated to install and use.  Even the most conscientious of parents may make mistakes.  It has been found that nine out of ten car seats are not installed or used correctly and that only 5% of children who should use a booster seat actually do.


For maximum child passenger safety, parents and caregivers can visit their local inspection stations and refer to the following 4 Steps for Kids guidelines that determine which restraint system is best suited to protect children based on age and size: 

  1. For the best possible protection keep infants in the back seat, in rear-facing child safety seats, as long as possible up to the height or weight limit of the particular seat. At a minimum, keep infants rear-facing until a minimum of age 1 and at least 20 pounds.  The Academy of Pediatrics now recommends children stay in rear-facing seats to the limit of the car seat or 2 years of age in a convertible car seat.

•2.      When children outgrow their rear-facing seats (at a minimum age 1 and at least 20 pounds) they should ride in forward-facing child safety seats, in the back seat, until they reach the upper weight or height limit of the particular seat (usually around age 4 and 40 pounds).

•3.      Once children outgrow their forward-facing seats (usually around age 4 and 40 pounds), they should ride in booster seats, in the back seat, until the vehicle seat belts fit properly. Seat belts fit properly when the lap belt lays across the upper thighs and the shoulder belt fits across the chest (usually at age 8 or when they are 4'9" tall).

•4.      When children outgrow their booster seats, (usually at age 8 or when they are 4'9" tall) they can use the adult seat belt in the back seat, if it fits properly (lap belt lays across the upper thighs and the shoulder belt fits across the chest).


Remember: All children younger than 13 should ride in the back seat.


As a distribution center, Stephens Memorial Hospital is authorized to provide car seats and booster seats to families at no cost, if they are able to meet State financial requirements; a WIC card needs to be shown as one of the qualifiers.


To participate in this free inspection parents and caregivers simply need to bring their vehicles, child safety seat, and children to the site.  There is no appointment necessary.


Upcoming dates for car seat inspections are April 23rd, July 16th, and October 22nd.  If you are unable to make one of these events and would like your seat checked by a certified technician or for more information, contact Carol Welsh at 207-743-1562 x138.                           


For more information on Child Passenger Safety Week and to find the child seat inspection station nearest you visit and






Health Information

181 Main Street, Norway, Maine 04268 | (207) 743-5933, TTY (for the hearing impaired): (207) 743-1597